Ribs (recordings)

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Ribs (Russian: «рёбра», translit. ryobra), also being called Music on ribs (Russian: «Музыка на рёбрах»), Jazz on bones (Russian: «Джаз на костях»), are slang names for x-ray shots, mostly a fluorography ones, turned into improvised gramophone recordings. These were a black market method of smuggling in and distributing forbidden music by foreign and emigre musicians who were banned from broadcasting in the USSR. Actual medical X-Rays, purchased from hospitals and clinics, were used for the technology; the X-Rays were cut into the shape of records. According to Russian musicologist Artemy Troitsky, "grooves were cut with the help of special machines (made, they say, from old phonographs by skilled conspiratorial hands)"; he added that the "quality was awful, but the price was low, a ruble or a ruble and a half."[1]

In 2014, the English musician Stephen Coates of the band The Real Tuesday Weld launched the 'The X-Ray Audio Project'' an initiative to provide a resource of information about the X-Ray recordings with visual images, audio recordings, and interviews as the basis for a book on the subject to be published in 2015 by Strange Attractor Press. Coates and sound artist and researcher Aleks Kolkowski cut a new X-Ray record as a demonstration of the process involved in the first of a series of live events about the project at London arts venue The Horse Hospital in October 2014.

Music censorship and tabooism in Soviet Union[edit]

Brief list of famous Western musicians forbidden to be broadcast or publicly performed in Soviet Union
(definitions and quotation marks as presented in Soviet original documents)[2]
Name Reason (official)
KISS neo-fascism, punk, violence
Junior English sex
Black Sabbath violence, religious obscurantism
Styx violence, vandalism
Sparks neo-fascism, racism
The Originals sex
10cc neo-fascism
Nazareth violence, religious mysticism, sadism
Pink Floyd misrepresentation of Soviet foreign policy
Julio Iglesias neo-fascism
Van Halen anti-Soviet propaganda
Village People violence
Tina Turner sex
Donna Summer erotism

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Easton, Paul (1989). "The Rock Music Community". In Riordan, James. Soviet youth culture 2. Basingstoke: Macmillan. p. 47. ISBN 0-333-46231-9. OCLC 246807650Available at University of Indiana 
  2. ^ Pryazhinskaya, E., ed. (January 10, 1985). "List of foreign music bands and performers, whose works consist of ideologically harmful notions" (Memo) (in Russian). Nikolaev, USSR: Obkom VLKSM. 

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